Samsung's new smartphone is elegant.

Galaxy S8 Plus: First Look At Samsung’s Brand-Saving Smartphone [Opinion]

Samsung’s Galaxy S8 is certainly a winner, but it will be Samsung’s Galaxy S8+ that will attract the most consumers. It’s $100 more than the regular S8, but many won’t mind the extra hit to the wallet. Let’s take a look at some of the most important aspects.

Design

The first thing you’ll notice about the Galaxy S8+ is that it’s mostly screen and little smartphone. The navigation buttons are all underneath the screen. This takes a little bit of getting used to, but it feels intuitive after about five minutes.

The volume button is on the side, and the fingerprint reader, which is (unfortunately) right next to the camera, is on the back. A USB-C port covers the very bottom of the S8+.

When looking at the phone in pictures, it may appear that the S8+ is too big, but one has to hold it to see that it’s not. It’s only a couple inches larger than the regular S8, but also has a more powerful battery.

Screen

The Galaxy S8+ has a Super AMOLED screen.
Samsung’s Galaxy S8+ screen is a beauty. [Image by Daryl Deino]

It’s alive! That’s the most accurate description one can make of the most gorgeous screen that has ever been seen on a smartphone. The 6.2-inch Quad-HD+ AMOLED screen looks at you more than the other way around. The contrast ratio is near perfect, and the colors take on a life of their own. It’s the best thing about the device.

Performance

There wasn’t enough “hands-on” experience with the S8+ to give a definitive judgement, but Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 octa-core chipset moves things through smoothly. It was hard to notice a huge difference between the performance of the Galaxy S8+ and the Galaxy S7 Edge — or even the recalled Galaxy Note 7. However, those smartphones had already passed the threshold of amazing performance.

This author did notice a tiny bit of lag when using Chrome. That could have been due to other issues, and the stock internet application ran without a hiccup. Samsung’s TouchWiz UI remains impeccable, and there is not any bloatware to mess that up.

Camera

The 12MP camera doesn’t appear to be much different from that on the Galaxy Note 7 and Galaxy S7 Edge — that’s a good thing. There is an improvement in taking pictures in low-lighting situations. It’s a four-star camera, but not a five-star camera like the one included on the iPhone 7 Plus.

The Galaxy S8+ looks beautiful, but sounds mediocre
The Galaxy S8+ does not have stereo speakers. [Image by Daryl Deino]

Speakers

After being hyped up about the Galaxy S8+ “stereo speakers” for the past several months, it was a huge disappointment to see that the S8+ only offered monaural sound. The stereo speakers that are on the latest iPhone completely enhance the listening experience. While Samsung’s screen is leagues ahead of the one on the iPhone 7 Plus, the latter may still be the best for watching movies.

Bixby

As CNET notes, Samsung’s answer to Siri isn’t up to par — yet. Bixby is very finicky and he doesn’t like loud background noise. However, Samsung is working with Bixby as we speak, and the new digital assistant should work out the quirks in time for the April 21 release date. For now, he doesn’t get a good reference.

Phone Quality

Remember, one is going to use the S8+ to make phone calls, and it serves as the perfect device for this. Samsung has been impeccable when it comes to making smartphones that have good voice quality. This author received two enthusiastic thumbs up from the calls he made, with both people on the other end saying it sounds almost like a landline phone.

Summary

From a brief experience with the Galaxy S8+, it’s safe to say that Samsung has made the smartphone they needed to make in order to recover from the Galaxy Note 7 debacle. A more detailed review will become available during release week, but Samsung can certainly take a comfortable bow.

[Featured Image by Daryl Deino]

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